Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chris Vance at Can we talk about what the County really does?

I will repeat here what I said there:I agree with Chris Vance, Deb Eddy, and Ted Van Dyke.

This is a trifecta for me, and a first.
I am going to bookmark this page, and cherish this event, always.

Can I throw in the library system to the list?
Shoreline has a nice King County library, maybe King County's City of Shoreline should have the very nice library? Not the best example, I know.

As more is annexed then maybe the county structures should go with it, where possible?

The King County Executive race is highly competitive, but the candidates keep talking about issues where the county has little influence. Here's a plea to address the topics where the county matters, such as law enforcement.

. . .
Which leads us to the services King County actually does govern and provide: solid waste, public health, regional parks, sewers, buses, records and elections, and, most importantly, criminal justice. Simply put, King County’s budget is roughly $5 billion, but of that, 87 percent is dedicated to specific services and programs, such as the road fund, and Metro transit and sewer service. Buses and sewers are vital, but there really aren’t a lot of policy issues to debate when it comes these core municipal services.

This leaves between $600 and $700 million in the General Fund for politicians to argue over. Of that, 73 percent currently goes to police, jails, prosecutors, juvenile justice, public defenders, and courts. These are the services King County truly governs, and this is where the real debate lies.

There are plenty of issues to debate regarding public safety. Last year the county laid off prosecutors and Sheriff’s deputies, and consequently stopped charging some crimes as felonies . We continue arguing about building a new jail, and we continue to expand the use of work release and electronic home monitoring. In addition there is the debate over whether King County should make reductions in public safety or in the valuable but entirely discretionary health and human services programs which compete for General Fund dollars. Law and justice is where the vast majority of the county’s discretionary budget goes and is the primary service it provides to the region, yet none of the candidates for Executive has a section of their web page devoted to these issues, and none is making crime and public safety the focus of a campaign.

Mr. Vance makes other interesting points, and uses Susan Hutchinson as an example. Please read the full story at
Can we talk about what the County really does?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today in Losing Propositions: "Drago exaggerates role in tunnel project"

This is from the Seattle Times Newspaper Editorial:
Mayoral candidate Jan Drago overstated her role in getting the downtown tunnel approved. If she wants to improve communication between Seattle and Olympia, she should be more accurate about what she actually accomplished.
Seattle Times Editorial: Mayoral candidate Drago exaggerates role in tunnel project

Ok, just so I have this right; the Seattle Times is chastising mayoral candidate Councilwoman Jan Drago for claiming too much credit for a viaduct replacement project the majority of Seattle did not vote for, that the state legislature chose to saddle Seattle for all of the cost overruns on. Umm, ok.

Last Spring she did testify in Olympia for the Tunnel project. I watched most of that on TVW.

Months before she stood next to Greg Nickels when the deal for the tunnel was announced, her contribution was committing Seattle to another Streetcar line to run from Alaskan Way on up the the empty KeyArena with no funding source to make it happen.

She stood next to Ron Sims, Sims' added bus service to add one million ridership hours was depending on car tab tax that never happened.

She stood with Governor Chris Gregoire who stripped away support for the added bus service hours after Ron Sims announced that he was leaving his position as King County Executive to become the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This Tunnel is, even by its supporters, a negative experience, 7 years in the making, following the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.

Why anybody would think exaggerating their involvement in that mess is nuts. It says more about the fantasy one must live in to think this is an issue to campaign on than it does about mayoral attributes. She is a better communicator than Greg Nickels, and this pile of manure is her claim to fame, really?

It is no wonder a guy that looked to be a long shot, James Donaldson, is polling almost on par with Drago. Between Nickels and Drago's shared history, I guess James Donaldson should be seen as a potential mayor, and not as an "also ran".

A new KING 5 News poll has Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels leading challengers Jan Drago and James Donaldson, with the other candidates trailing the field.

The survey results:
Nickels: 24 percent.
Drago: 15 percent.
Donaldson: 14 percent.
The poll released Thursday showed that 26 percent of respondents were undecided. Poll: Nickels leads Seattle mayor's race

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Seattle Times: Bill gives in-state tuition [rate] to foreign professionals, families in Washington on visa

State Senate vote was:
HB 1487
Resident students
Senate vote on 3rd Reading & Final Passage

Yeas: 31   Nays: 13   Absent: 1   Excused: 4
Voting Yea:  Senators Berkey, Brandland, Delvin, Eide, Fairley, Franklin, Fraser, Hargrove, Hatfield, Haugen, Hobbs, Jacobsen, Jarrett, Keiser, Kilmer, Kline, Kohl-Welles, Marr, McAuliffe, McDermott, Murray, Oemig, Prentice, Pridemore, Ranker, Regala, Schoesler, Sheldon, Shin, Tom, and Zarelli
Voting Nay:  Senators Becker, Benton, Carrell, Hewitt, Holmquist, Honeyford, Kauffman, King, McCaslin, Parlette, Pflug, Stevens, and Swecker
Absent:  Senator Roach
Excused:  Senators Brown, Kastama, Morton, and Rockefeller
link to vote record here.
So, my question is: why is Ross Hunter the face the Seattle Times selected for this story?
He sponsored the House Bill, but it was the Senate Bill that was passed.
Senate Bill  Sponsors: Senators Oemig, Zarelli, Kilmer, Shin, Murray, Hewitt, Kohl-Welles

Subject to lively legislative debate, the bill received little attention outside the Capitol. An analysis put the immediate tuition revenue loss at the University of Washington at about $430,000, with potential for bigger losses in future years, and about $215,000 at Washington State University.

State Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, the bill's sponsor, retired from Microsoft in 2000 after 17 years. He said employers in his Eastside district sought the provision as a tool for recruiting foreign talent.

"There are a bunch of people in my district who are in this situation," said Hunter, who is running for King County executive.

The bill passed the House 59-38 and the Senate 31-13.
Link to Seattle Times story here.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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Saturday, June 20, 2009 Another Democratic District disses Nickels

The 46th District Dems take a pass on Greg Nickels.

The Democrats of Seattle's 46th District are making no endorsement in the Seattle mayor's race, the third legislative district organization to take a pass on active Democrat and incumbent Mayor Greg Nickels.

Earlier this week, 43rd District Democrats made no endorsement, after balloting in which Nickels trailed a pair of newcomers, T-Mobile vice president Joe Mallahan and Sierra Club activist Mike McGinn.

The 37th District voted to give a joint endorsement to Mallahan and McGinn.
Read the blog post by blogger Joel Connely here.

Or, you can read the 46th District Dems report here. Joe Mallahan drew the majority of votes, but not the required 2/3 vote required to win the endorsement. News aggregator, Joel Connely, could have mentioned that point.
Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 The Viaduct issue looms in Seattle races

McGinn push-poll helps him pull votes from Jan Drago (see the referenced story below).

The poll tested how the Viaduct issue plays in the Seattle Mayor's race. At the outset it asked the poll takers who they planned to vote for in that race, getting these results: Nickels 20%, Jan Drago 19, James Donaldson 11, Mike McGinn 10, and Joe Mallahan 7. Then it explained, negatively, the Viaduct issue, particularly the city's being on the hook for cost over-runs, and pointed out that only McGinn opposes the tunnel option. Knowing that, the pollster says, now how would you vote in the Mayor's race. The results changed dramatically: McGinn 29, Nickels 21, Drago 12, Donaldson 6, Mallahan 4.

Those figures help explain why McGinn works the Viaduct issue and its financial liability into nearly every remark, and why Drago can't really tout one of her signal achievements and differences with Nickels. Drago, alone on the City Council, favored the deep-bore tunnel idea years before it seemed a plausible alternative to the streets-only solution or building a new viaduct; and she was an effective negotiator to get the idea enacted once cost estimates had dropped enough to make it a contender. story on the viaduct polling data.

Drawing a point from Nickels on this issue does not sink him, but it does sandbag Drago, good enough if you want to get to the final two and have a chance to broaden the debate after the primary.

In some ways this gets back to Drago pushing downtown centric infrastructure. Try push-polling there three words, Drago-Allen-Trolley. Fact is that in the "other" Seattle, where many voter actually live, where snow piled up, we can not find money to pay too much to clear roads, but we can find plenty of money to run the trolley and streetcars.

On the north end development is defined as site searching for a new jail (gosh, thanks, but, no thanks). On the south end they are trying to curb gangs at the cost of a self-cleaning toilet.

Any subject McGinn, or any other candidate wants to go after Nickels with will hurt Jan Drago just as much, if not more (judging by the referenced poll).

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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Copy and paste, finally!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You do not need ink to print the Seattle Weekly, just a little mud.

As a footnote at the bottom of The Seattle Weekly's Daily story, Constantine Challenges Hutchison to a Duel , was this gem By Laura Onstot, "Here's hoping the injection of vitriol makes tomorrow's meeting a little more exciting than your standard candidate forum."

Laura, Jaded much?

Let's hope that the discourse at the King County Executive Candidate Forum, Thursday, in Burien, has more substance that the manure-fest Laura Onstot is hoping for.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker Is it King County's moment for change? publisher, David Brewster, poses the question of "change?" to the race for the open King County Executive position.

The question, more or less, hinges on Seattle media paying attention to the race. With the end of the printing of one of the daily metro newspapers I hope Seattle is not counting on 30 second snippets on local television news to inform the public on who the candidates are, and what their policy differences are between them.

The Seattle Times, now the lone daily newspaper has leaned center-right forever, and once they endose the status quo, those that lobbied for newspaper tax breaks, they will stop being of use to anybody but themselves.

Welcome to the one newspaper town, Seattle.

Back to David Brewster, he has a good primer on the inside/outside position of the candidates, and their relationship to the ability to take the "change" position.

Right now I am taking an interest in the outsiders, Ross Hunter and Fred Jarrett. The business of running King County needs help, and either one of those two could provide that leadership role (sorry Larry). linked story here!

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009 District Dems back Mallahan, McGinn for Seattle mayor's Joel Connely reports that the 37th District Democrats in Seattle have split their endorsement between two challengers, Joe Mallahan (T-Mobile) and Mike McGinn (Sierra Club).

The Alki Dems (Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce) went with the people ruling for the benefit of downtown, Greg Nickels (mayor of downtown Seattle) and Jan Drago (Streetcars for billionaires).
Too bad Paul Allen doesn't live in Seattle, so he could actually vote for the people working for him. linked here!

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BBC NEWS: On the tracks of 'Kim's successor'

Turns out I will NOT be the next leader of North Korea.
It is not as if I was expecting to be, but, just knowing I'm not in line to be the next mega-nut is its own reward.

Imagine being tagged as the next loose cannon with a finger on the button of doom. What if you were not expecting it? Look at the level of crazy you have to live up to with Kim Jong-il, wow, that is the kind of pressure nobody needs. story link here!

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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